In my previous video, I shared the best answer to “I want” which are two words that strike fear in every parent’s heart. Being able to calmly provide an answer that stops tears from morphing into a full-blown tantrum is something you want in your repertoire, not only for your children’s wants but also your own because we never outgrow wanting things. A family save goal is a great start to helping kids understand money needs a purpose. Now you’re ready to move to the next step — your family money values.
One of the first words most kids utter after “Mom” and “Dad” is “No” and for good reason. It’s a word they hear frequently and quickly learn to dislike. It’s also another go-to word when our kids get the “I wants”. We respond with “No. We can’t afford it.” or some variation. Telling our kids “no” isn’t the problem, because we certainly can’t buy them everything they want, but we forget to include the “why” behind the “no”. Kids think we are making an arbitrary decision with our “no” or being unfair or mean because they continue to see us buy things. It doesn’t make sense to them.
Kids grow tired of hearing “no” and can’t wait until they get big and can say “yes” which is what they think you are doing. Perhaps you remember having similar thoughts as a child. Most of us do and we don’t always outgrow that thinking either. This belief can get deeply rooted in our children and lead to mindless and emotional spending as adults because they don’t realize you need to make thoughtful decisions with their money. So what can you do?
I started conversations with Lauren and Taylor about our family money values when they were around six years old. I explained the difference between discretionary and non-discretionary money, focusing our attention on discretionary income because that is the bucket of money we decide how to spend. Knowing your family money values will help guide your decisions and minimize mindless spending.
The girls also know that Mom and Dad think carefully about how we use our discretionary income and we don’t say “no” lightly. It’s a thoughtful decision based upon our priorities and values. Watch my new video on how to have this conversation with your children.
Have you shared your family money values with your children yet?